An Ohio teen who tied his parents' door shut and set his house on fire has been spared the maximum sentence after pleading guilty to arson and attempted murder. Mitchell Simon, who was 16 when he tried to kill his parents last fall after they disciplined him for skipping band practice and making inappropriate posts on Facebook, will serve nine years in prison, followed by five years of probation, the New York Daily News reports. His parents told the judge they didn't want their son sent to prison and they don't believe he belongs there.
Mitchell's father—who broke an ankle when he jumped out a second-story window to escape the blaze—said he feared his son would be killed or sexually assaulted in prison, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I feel like there's two hats I'm wearing today—a parent and a victim," he said. "It's been very confusing to me these past seven months as to which one I should be wearing." A psychiatrist testified that the teen, who faced a maximum of 33 years, had made progress in therapy but he couldn't guarantee he wouldn't try to harm his parents again if he was set free. The judge said it was particularly troubling that the teen had planned the fire in his journal, writing that he wanted his mother to "burn in hell." (In Virginia, another teen boy has pleaded guilty to killing his parents because they took his iPod away.)